Creator Tracy McMillan and Showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser Set to Executive Produce Alongside Washington, Lindo, Joy Gorman Wettels and Simpson Street’s Pilar Savone
Onyx Collective announced today that it has picked up “Unprisoned” as its first scripted comedy series. From creator Tracy McMillan. The eight-episode series is produced by ABC Signature and will be streamed exclusively on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in all other territories.
Inspired by McMillan’s life, “Unprisoned” is a half-hour comedy about a messy but perfectionist relationship therapist and single mom whose life is turned right-side-up when her dad gets out of prison and moves in with her and her teenage son.
Star and executive producer Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere,” “Scandal”) plays Paige Alexander, a marriage and family therapist and mom to 16-year-old Finn. Washington will produce along with executive producer Pilar Savone through their Simpson Street production company. Simpson Street is currently producing Onyx Collective’s legal drama “Reasonable Doubt” from ABC Signature.
Delroy Lindo (“Da 5 Bloods”) executive produces and stars as Edwin Alexander, Paige’s father, who has recently been released from prison. Lindo recently starred in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” (New York Film Critics Award’s Best Actor) and “The Harder They Fall” for Netflix. He has had memorable film roles in “The Cider House Rules,” “Heist,” “Ransom” and “Get Shorty,” and previously garnered acclaim for a trio of films with Spike: “Clockers,” “Crooklyn” and “Malcolm X.” Lindo will begin production on “Blade” for Marvel Studios this summer, and he will also be starring in Neil Gaiman’s limited series “Anansi Boys.”
· Creator Tracy McMillan (“Mad Men,” Marvel’s “Runaways”) serves as executive producer. McMillan also hosts the relationship reality show “Family or Fiance” on Discovery’s OWN Network.
Yvette Lee Bowser (“Living Single,” “Dear White People,” “Run the World”) serves as executive producer and showrunner. Bowser and her production company, SisterLee Productions, have an overall deal with ABC Signature.
Joy Gorman Wettels (“13 Reasons Why”) will executive produce with Anonymous Content. Jen Braeden (“Love, Victor”) is also an executive producer. The series is produced by ABC Signature.
· “Unprisoned” joins Onyx Collective’s impressive slate of content, including Questlove’s Oscar(R)-winning documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”; “The Hair Tales,” from executive producers Tracee Ellis Ross, Michaela Angela Davis and Oprah Winfrey; legal drama “Reasonable Doubt,” from executive producers Raamla Mohamed, Kerry Washington and Larry Wilmore; limited series “The Plot,” executive produced and starring two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali; award-winning documentary “Aftershock,” from directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee; and recently announced docuseries “Gigante,” featuring interviews with Mario Kreutzberger, also known as Don Francisco, chronicling how the political and cultural impact of “Sabado Gigante” helped shape a new demographic.
“From the moment we read the script for ‘Unprisoned,’ we wanted this fresh, funny series for Onyx,” stated Tara Duncan, president of Onyx Collective and Freeform. “Tracy tells the story of an endearing but complicated father-daughter relationship with the heart and humor of someone who has lived this all too common experience. We’re thrilled to continue our creative collaboration with Kerry Washington and the teams at Simpson Street and ABC Signature.”
“From the moment Tracy McMillan brought this project to Simpson Street, we knew that it had the potential to be provocative, groundbreaking and life-affirming,” says Kerry Washington, executive producer and star. “I love this show. I love these characters and the stories that they inspire. And I’m extremely excited to be working, once again, with both Onyx Collective and ABC Signature and honored to be collaborating with this talented group of creative partners.”
“This isn’t just my story,” says creator Tracy McMillan, “it’s the story of millions of people dealing with the effects of mass incarceration on their families, hearts, minds and bodies – and as writers, we wanted to come to these flawed but super-lovable characters from the place of empathy, humor and soul that they deserve.”
Washington is represented by CAA, Washington Square Arts, Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman and The Lede Company. Her headshot can be found HERE.
Lindo is represented by APA.
ABOUT ONYX COLLECTIVE
Onyx Collective is a new content brand formed under Disney General Entertainment Content (DGE) designed to curate a slate of premium entertainment programming by creators of color and underrepresented voices. Onyx Collective ushers an exciting slate of content for a global audience, including critically acclaimed debut project Questlove’s Oscar(R)-winning documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”; “The Hair Tales,” from executive producers Tracee Ellis Ross, Michaela Angela Davis and Oprah Winfrey; legal drama “Reasonable Doubt,” from executive producers Raamla Mohamed, Kerry Washington and Larry Wilmore; limited series “The Plot,” executive produced and starring two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali; and award-winning documentary, “Aftershock,” from directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee. The brand’s roster of prolific creators also includes writer and comedian Natasha Rothwell (“Insecure,” “SNL”), writer, producer and director Prentice Penny’s Penny for Your Thoughts, Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Black Panther”) and writer and director Destin Daniel Cretton (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) and his production company Family Owned. Follow on Twitter and Instagram: @OnyxCollective
ABOUT ABC SIGNATURE
One of the Disney Television Studios, ABC Signature is a global leader in the development, production and distribution of entertainment content across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. The studio produces many of ABC Entertainment’s most significant hits, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “black-ish,” and “Station 19”; co-productions “The Good Doctor,” “A Million Little Things,” “The Rookie,” and “Home Economics,” and late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” ABC Signature’s returning series include co-production “Woke on Hulu; “grown-ish” for Freeform; “The Wilds” for Amazon and “Godfather of Harlem” for EPIX. For streaming service Disney +, series include “The Mighty Ducks” and “Big Shot.”
ABOUT SIMPSON STREET
In 2016, Kerry Washington launched her production company Simpson Street, developing broadcast, cable and digital projects. The company’s debut film, HBO’s CONFIRMATION, starred Washington as Anita Hill. The film received Emmy, NAACP and Critics’ Choice nominations and won the WGA Award for Long Form – Original. In June 2018, Simpson Street launched “Five Points,” the first scripted series for Facebook Watch. A co-production with Indigenous Media, the second season dropped August 2019. In September 2018, the company made its Broadway debut with the critically acclaimed production of American Son, which also starred Washington. In January 2019, Washington announced that Simpson Street would be partnering with Netflix to adapt American Son for the screen. The production, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, was released as a Netflix Television Event. The film received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Television Movie. The company also received a PGA nomination for Outstanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures in support of AMERICAN SON, as well as three NAACP nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie for Washington, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special; and Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television). Simpson Street produced the ABC special, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” in Fall 2019, which featured re-imaginings of the classic sitcoms “All in the Family” and “Good Times.” The special received four Emmy nominations and took home the trophy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live). Simpson Street brought their latest film, THE FIGHT, to Sundance in January 2020, where Magnolia Pictures picked up the distribution rights. This documentary provides unprecedented access to 5 ACLU lawyers as they battle the previous administration’s attack on human rights and civil liberties – from the ‘Muslim Ban’ to abortion rights. It was released on-demand and in theaters in July 2020. In Spring 2020, Simpson Street and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine collaborated on “Little Fires Everywhere” for Hulu. Both Witherspoon and Washington star in the limited series based on the best-selling novel by Celeste Ng. Washington received Emmy, SAG, and NAACP Image Award nominations for her portrayal of Mia Warren. The series received multiple NAACP Image Award and Emmy nominations, including ‘Outstanding Limited Series.’ Other projects in development include action-drama SHADOW FORCE in partnership with Sterling K. Brown’s Indian Meadows Productions and Made with Love Media’s Stephen “Dr” Love, Disney Branded Television original movie FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON in partnership with Gamechanger Films, based on Janae Marks’ book of the same name, and Netflix’s film adaptation of Diane Cardwell’s ROCKAWAY in partnership with 3dot Productions and Aevitas Entertainment, written by Nichelle Tramble.
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